December 4, 2012

Rabid Reads: "Sadie Walker Is Stranded" by Madelaine Roux

Sadie Walker Is Stranded
by Madelaine Roux
Readline (2012)
337 pages
ISBN 0755379160

It always seems that no matter what you do, the zombies win. It's the numbers, I suppose. Fend 'em off for a while, but they multiply like bunnies, and before you know it they have you on all sides and before long you're groaning and shambling with the lot of 'em. The thing is, when you really think about it, those slow-witted meat puppets aren't that frightening if you can get a wall between you and them. I'll take a room full of zombies any day over a lone grizzly bear.

In Madelaine Roux's novel, the world carries on in barricaded cities like Seattle where the title character lives. Paradise it is not, but it's walled up tight and those brain-munching knuckle draggers aren't getting in. Sadie may not have to worry about zombies, but she does have to worry about the people who just tried to abduct her eight-year-old nephew, Shane, who she's been caring for. But even when she saves him, it turns out the walls have been breached and the zombies really are wreaking havoc once again. Survival instincts kick in and she races for the Pacific shore with her best friend, Andrew, to get Shane to safety on a boat. Madness rules the streets and they have to contend with the other panicked citizens as much as the zombies. And even when they set sail and watch Seattle burn, there's no real salvation, because there's no real destination in mind and it seems the zombies are not deterred by the ocean.

Eventually, Sadie and her ragtag band of crew-mates find an island on which to land. But with scant supplies, they face starvation and the continuing threat of zombies loom, as they're unsure if one might come shambling up the beach. And then, Sadie discovers they aren't the only survivors holed-up on the island, and things really take a turn for the worse.

Sadie Walker Is Stranded is actually a followup to Madelaine's first zombie novel, Allison Hewitt Is Trapped, which I have not read. It doesn't matter though, because this novel works perfectly as a stand-alone with only a passing mention to the main character from the previous book. That said, the story didn't really do a whole lot to stand out from a saturated zombie genre. Sadie is a relatable and sympathetic character through which to read the story, but her obstinance gets a little grating at times, to the point you wonder if angrily shaking the book or throwing it against a wall might smack some sense into her.

It's an engaging and exciting story at times, but a couple of the characters came off as two-dimensional and their actions telegraphed to a degree that sapped the mystery and suspense out of the second half of the book. It's a good read, that falls short of being a great read.

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